Understanding the 5 Types of Laminated and Encapsulated Print

Written By Allen King

I purchased my first machine back in 1982 and started protecting portfolio books for photographers. 30 years later, I’m proud to say Express Encapsulating is the largest encapsulating business in the UK, with the aim of protecting the nation’s print from damage, so print can look better, for longer, no matter where it ends up.

Published On July 27, 2022

Whether you realise it or not, you’re likely dealing with laminated products on a daily basis. With lamination machines, we can protect all sorts of products, from restaurant menus to hazard signs and even aircraft safety cards.

Laminating essential documents and items will not only save you money but can also improve your materials’ quality and impact. For instance, most emergency choking hazard guides located in restaurants are laminated for your safety. Without lamination, these emergency guides can get damaged over time, potentially creating a dangerous situation.

Understanding the 5 types of print that can be laminated will help you recognise what print should be laminated, to prevent everyday wear and tear from damaging the print.

Here’s everything you need to know about protecting your materials with the science of lamination.


The most common use of lamination is to protect heavily-used informational documents like restaurant menus, ads/flyers, event posters, and business cards. Without lamination, these products could barely handle normal usage.

Think of the crying toddler at a restaurant who is spilling drinks and waving the menu around like a parade flag. There’s not a paper menu in the world that can handle that type of beating. Fortunately, with professional lamination, restaurant menus can withstand quite the beating from most clumsy customers.

If you want your materials to have a long-lasting quality feel to them, then you should consider laminating these items:

  • In-Store Catalogues
  • A-Board Posters
  • Restaurant Menus
  • Ads/Flyers
  • Window Posters
  • Business Cards


Documents that are meant for 24/7 outdoor treatment usually have little chance of surviving the elements on their own. Luckily, with some heavy-duty lamination, outdoor posters, petrol pump ads, campground guides, and other outdoor documents have a fighting chance.

Creating advertisements and materials meant for the outdoors can be incredibly costly. However, by simply laminating your printed materials, you can enjoy highly customised and quickly made items that can withstand the elements.

Outdoor and waterproof lamination is incredibly useful for items like:

  • Petrol Pump Ads
  • Outdoor Posters
  • Outdoor Signs
  • Maps

Safety signs

It truly cannot be understated how important lamination is for safety and emergency guides. Many of these guides are used in situations when lives are at stake, and having these materials destroyed or corrupted by water or other elements, can even be life-threatening.

When it comes to producing materials like aircraft safety cards, fire alarm signs, health and safety flowcharts, and emergency evacuation signs, these items should be able to withstand damage and still be legible.

For instance, hikers injured in a storm may need to use a medical guide. If these guides were damaged in the accident because they weren’t laminated, it could cost someone’s life.

Therefore, any safety and emergency materials should be laminated for protection, these include:

  • Aircraft Safety Cards
  • Hazard Signs (‘Slippery Floor’, ‘Trip Hazards’ etc..)
  • CCTV Warning Signs
  • Fire Alarm Signs
  • Emergency Evacuation Signs
  • Health and Safety Flowcharts (e.g. Basic Life Support, Electrocution, Chemical Spills etc…)


Many working environments are inherently messy. If you’ve ever peered into the back of a restaurant kitchen and seen how “clean” they look after a shift, you’ll realise the uphill battle it is to keep things clean.

However, restaurants, car garages, and other messy working environments still rely on paper materials like charts, guides, and instructions in their daily tasks. In these instances, it’s cost-effective to laminate any important documents that are required by the workers.

Business owners and managers should consider laminating materials like:

  • Guides – Washing Hands, Changing Cooking Oil, Cleaning Surfaces, Measuring Ingredient Portions, Food Recipes, Cocktail Guide
  • Instructions – Scan To Order Table QR, Contactless Payments Sign, Order & Pay Sign, Order At Table
  • Reference Charts – Ingredients List, Food Toppings, Allergies, Shelf Life, Nutritional Information.


In some cases, lamination can be used to improve organisational efficiencies for documents. Encapsulation can protect the print and make it easier for users to navigate information.

For instance, folders with tabbed sections that are robust by nature but handled frequently need to be easy to use but also well protected from heavy use, lamination can solve this problem.

Users of the following resources should consider laminating the following documents:

  • Folder Tab Dividers
  • Binded Manuals
  • Oversized Reference Materials

At Express Encapsulation we’ve got over 35 years’ experience in making print last longer and look better. For more information about lamination and encapsulation, and to find out how we can help you with your print finishing, please contact me on 01179 414 999 or email me on sales@expressencap.co.uk.

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